After 11 years in charge, politics formally handed over the position to the MEP
Jordan Bardella, newly-elected President of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National – RN) party, holds the hand of Marine Le Pen, member of parliament and member of the French far-right National Rally party, after the results during the National Rally party's Congress in Paris, France, November 5, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
The French National Rally party (RN, extreme right) elected This Saturday Jordan Bardella , 27, as president, replacing Marine Le Pen, whose new leader is a loyal protégé.
Bardella, the favorite to win the party's presidency, obtained 85% of the vote and defeated the Mayor of Perpignan (South), Louis Alliot, which achieved 15%.
After 11 years in charge, Marine Le Pen decided to withdraw from the presidency of the party, previously known as the Front Nacional (FN), which her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, directed before her for almost 40 years.
Bardella, despite being an emerging value of the French extreme right, does not seek to overshadow Marine Le Pen, who will continue to be the main figure of the party, according to what he said. “I am a continuity candidate, with the aim of building on [his] incredible legacy,” the far-right had stated before being elected.
Bardella, born in Drancy, in the Paris region, he has been the interim president since September 2021, when Le Pen took a step aside, supposedly temporary. “He has done everything well and everyone respects him,” far-right deputy Laurent Jacobelli told AFP. “And he knows how to get different people to work together. So why change?” Jacobelli added during a political rally in mid-October in Hayange, northwestern France.
At the event, Bardella spoke confidently, without notes, for 40 minutes, sharing details about growing up on the eighth floor of a building in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, where he lived with his Italian immigrant mother. “Every day from my window and when I entered the building I saw that there were drug dealers checking if you were from the police,” said Bardella, emphasizing that he also saw girls with veils.
Jordan Bardella (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)
Personal harassment and the 2005 riots in the French suburbs pushed him to join Le Pen 's party at just 16 years old, to prevent “France from becoming look like what [he] had lived through.”
Bardella likes to emphasize that he belongs to a new generation of nationalists with little in common with the racist and anti-Semitic image associated with Jean-Marie Le Pen and the FN.
“I want to address those disappointed by the old parties, the orphans of the right, those in love with France, those who refuse to see it disappear. Join us on the path that leads to the conquest of power! We are going to succeed (French President) Emmanuel Macron! ”, He encouraged in his first speech as president of the RN.
With a rhetoric full of ultranationalist and populist promises, Bardella took advantage of the mass bath before his supporters to highlight his admiration and gratitude to Marine Le Pen, the woman who has supported him in his meteoric rise in politics. “I would like to tell you today: all my appreciation and also my pride in working with her, but above all for her and by her side”, he asserted.
Le Pen, for her part, will now concentrate on her work as head of the RN in the French National Assembly, after the historic results obtained in the legislative elections last June (the far-right bloc won 89 deputies), which also they left the government bloc without an absolute majority in the chamber.
”I am not leaving the presidency of our movement to go on vacation. I'm still mobilized. There will be no rest for me, as for any of us, until we have straightened out the country”, assured Le Pen in her speech as outgoing president, just before the announcement of the results of the election of her successor. The change of leadership will not imply In principle, great changes in the ideas defended by the RN, centered on the nationalist and ethnocentric concept of the national “preference” or “priority”.
It is expected, in fact, Let Le Pen continue to be the strong voice behind the scenes, at least for the time being. From Bardella, analysts anticipate a more radical profile in terms of ideas, after the period of refoundation and “demonization” of the party promoted by Le Pen.